Challenging stereotypes this National Volunteer Week

17 May 2021
Healthy Community

This week is National Volunteer Week, Australia’s largest celebration of volunteers.

This year we’re challenging the stereotypes associated with older people and highlighting their enormous contributions to the community. Over 80 per cent our Food Services volunteers are aged over 60 and our longest-serving volunteer has given 37 years of service.

According to research undertaken for the Council on the Ageing (COTA), 56 per cent of older Australians complete some sort of unpaid work each week. On average, those engaging in voluntary work spend 6.2 hours per week doing so.

Together with six other Eastern Metropolitan Regional Councils (Boroondara, Knox, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges) and coordinated by Inner East Primary Care Partnership, we have developed a joint campaign to raise awareness about ageism, challenge stereotypes and encourage people to speak up and take action.

Our campaign, titled EveryAGE Counts in Melbourne East, ties into the national EveryAGE Counts campaign.

Manningham Mayor Cr Andrew Conlon says it's unfortunate that ageism seems to be society's last acceptable form of discrimination and is far more widespread than most of us realise.

“While it affects people of all ages, it often comes from negative attitudes and beliefs about what it means to be older, and is a serious issue affecting older people,” he says.

“It can affect the confidence, quality of life, job prospects, health and self-esteem of many older people in our community.”

Cr Conlon says this is an important topic and we wanted to start the campaign by highlighting and recognising our amazing volunteers, many of whom are older community members. 

“Thank you to all our dedicated volunteers who freely give up hundreds of hours each month to serve and support the local community.”

Learn more about the EveryAGE Counts in Melbourne’s East campaign and how to get involved.